Rescue or punishment? - By Mizeta Moon

It had been a horrible trip so far. Multiple breakdowns caused a huge financial drain as well as frazzling my nerves. Every time I left a garage thinking I was going to be okay, it turned out to be wishful thinking. Within a few miles something else would go wrong, leaving me stranded again. This time I could see a motel sign about half a mile away, so at least I wouldn’t have to sleep in my car while waiting for a tow truck. When I’d called AAA, they informed me it would be the next morning before anyone would be available. Tired and disappointed, I grabbed my overnight bag, locked the car, and started walking.

The motel was called Lulu’s Oasis but it looked like a slumlord’s dream castle. Three palm trees lined a cracked, pothole riddled driveway ending at the entrance of a building badly in need of rehab or demolition. Lulu turned out to be about eighty, with a heavily wrinkled face and a head of white hair wrapped in pink plastic rollers. Her bathrobe looked like she never washed it. As I filled out a coffee stained registration form, she told me I could have her best room. Two beds, a mini-fridge, and over the air TV (which turned out to be an old black and white from the fifties) and a shower instead of a tub. I would have gone elsewhere but the nearest town was five miles away, and like I said, I was tired and cranky and had to meet the tow driver in the morning. I asked if there were others staying there but she told me it was the off season. Fancy that. The only travelers frequenting her establishment had to be in dire straits, like me.

When Lulu handed me my key, she caressed the back of my hand and stated that I might be more comfortable in her bed but that totally creeped me out. Later, I realized she was right about the comfort level since the beds were lumpy and smelled like pee in my ‘deluxe’ room. The shower spewed lukewarm rusty water that left me feeling less clean than when I stepped in. All in all, I was badly in need of the bottle of tequila I always keep in my overnight bag in case of emergency. I had to drink straight from the bottle as the only glass in the room was nearly opaque from mineral crusting and had a dead fly in the bottom. Needless to say, I drank too much tequila trying to blot out the nightmare situation my disaster prone vehicle subjected me to. I got so drunk that reruns of the Jack Benny show made me laugh out loud.

I finally passed out on the floor. That little bit of sleep was a welcome respite but I woke up with a splitting headache and my whole body ached. I pulled on a fresh pair of panties and got dressed, wishing I could go to Denny’s and get breakfast instead of munching a battered NUTRIGRAIN bar lurking at the bottom of my bag. Fortunately, Lulu wasn’t in the office when I dropped off the key and started walking back to my ride. I didn’t want to admit that I probably would have been more comfortable if I’d taken her offer of a cuddle. The tow truck driver turned out to be a redneck yahoo that offered me a free tow if I would have sex with him, but I would have pushed the car to the garage instead of surrendering to his sleazy caresses. As it was, I had to pay him an exorbitant fee for what was supposed to be a free tow or he would leave me stranded. Threatening to complain to AAA made him laugh since he was the only tow driver for nearly a hundred miles.

I finally got home but the trip wasn’t without further incident. Another breakdown. A friendlier tow. But still, more exasperation. Instead of selling my car to a junk dealer, I beat the hell out of it with a sledgehammer, then set it on fire. Yesterday I bought a new car, and hopefully it will perform well, but nothing can erase the memory of Lulu inviting me to discover what was under her robe.         

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